Do you wish you had a few tools up your sleeve to make homeschooling easier? I have my best tools for homeschooling below.
Unfortunately, a cup of coffee that automatically stays at the perfect temperature all day did not make the list (let me know if you find one). The following are ten apps, tools, and courses that I use every day to make homeschooling run smoother.
Table of contents
- #1 Trello: How to Organize Your Homeschool for Free
- #2 Why Rocketbook Is the Last Notebook You Will Need
- #3 How Can AirPods be Used as a Homeschooling Tool?
- #4 How to Make Homeschool Organized with an Apple Watch
- #5 Homeschool Effectively with a Whiteboard
- #6 Evernote is a Homeschool Tool
- #7 Grammarly as a Working Homeschool Mom Tool
- #8 Gentle Parenting Helps Make Homeschooling Easier
- #9 Self Care is the Most Important Homeschooling Tool
- #10 The Roomba: More Time Teaching, Less Time Cleaning
#1 Trello: How to Organize Your Homeschool for Free
I have tried a LOT of planners, and I ditch them halfway through the year. I think I figured out why.
The kids use curricula, and they are “set it and forget.”
I don’t need to fill in what we will do the next day because it’s whatever is on the next page. Plus, I don’t have a lot of time to write in a planner if I don’t need to.
Save time and money with something online.
I tried Trello a few years back, and I just did not understand it. I left my board blank.
Recently, I took another look at Trello, and I created several boards for meal planning, homeschooling, budget, and more.
Trello is an app that can organize workflows, checklists, schedules, or collaborations with other people. You start with a board, and you can add columns that act as lists, which can move around.
Within those lists, there are cards. The lists and the cards are moveable.
If creating a Trello board seems a bit much, there are tons of Trello templates online to help you start. I love that I can look at my Trello while I am on my laptop or my phone any time I need to.
How to Use Trello as a Tool For Homeschooling
Trello is a visual way to run my homeschool, and I have dedicated a board to homeschooling. You have ten boards for free.
It’s nice to get projects out of my head and to see everything visually.
I copied a homeschooling template into my Trello and made it my own. The lists I have include “goals,” “field trips,” “reading list,” “curriculum,” “shopping lists,” and more.
I try to be minimalistic to avoid being overwhelmed.
Next, I have cards on each of those lists. I can click a card to “flip it over” to create a checklist, add due dates, or put a link to a website.
On my “shopping” list, I have a card for each subject, and on the back of each card, I have a checklist of materials I need to buy. I can also add a link to the product, so I don’t need to search for it again.
Trello is portable on all of your devices which is convenient and a time saver. You can use it to organize your entire life, which I find hard to do with most planners.
I once bought four planners. I still feel guilty for not finishing them. Once I even tried to create a “Franken Planner.”
Trello is free, so if it’s not for you, it’s no big deal! So far, I am enjoying it, and it is one of the best tools for homeschooling.
Let’s say you are a paper and pen kind of person. Then another tool you should consider is a Rocketbook.
#2 Why Rocketbook Is the Last Notebook You Will Need
While I love online tools’ convenience, there’s nothing like a pen and paper to collect my thoughts. Besides having an extensive planner collection, I also had a few notebooks and tons of post-it notes scattered around.
I don’t remember how I found Rocketbook (a Facebook ad, perhaps), but I’m glad I did. I can get those oh-so-awesome brain dumps on paper in one place.
Rocketbook is a reusable notebook you use with a Frixion erasable pen. Then you can scan the pages with their app and send them to most cloud drives if you want.
When you want to reuse a page, you wipe it with a wet cloth.
If you do buy a Rocketbook, join the Facebook group. When I drop by, it blows my mind how people create unique planning pages using Rocketbook and a permanent marker!
How Do You Use a Rocketbook in Your Homeschool?
There are Rocketbooks with different sizes and types of pages. You can choose from the letter, executive, notepad size, and more.
I use the Rocketbook Fusion, which also has lined pages, dot-grid paper, calendar, and other planning sheets. Depending on what I am going to jot down, I select the page I need.
I use my Rocketbook to brainstorm ideas or outline projects from all areas of my life, including homeschooling, and then I use Trello to record the final goals or workflow.
For my household, I created a master grocery list and sent it to Google Drive. You can use your Rocketbook for homeschool or any other part of your life.
I have even considered creating a planner using Rocketbook or just using their Panda Planner Rocketbook.
If you are having trouble keeping up with different notebooks, post-it notes, or scraps of paper, then a Rocketbook will make your homeschool more organized. No more lost scribbles of paper.
#3 How Can AirPods be Used as a Homeschooling Tool?
I pop in my AirPods and listen to podcasts or answer a phone call with a couple of taps from my fingertip. I listen to my podcast while my child does her math or while I am preparing dinner.
Sometimes it is nice to feel like I am learning something new alongside my children. I love AirPods as a hands-free solution that connects to all of my devices automatically.
The Homeschooling Possibilities with AirPods
How is AirPods a homeschooling tool? I count this as teacher development and as a bonus self-care.
A happy teacher is a happy homeschool.
If you feel good by listening to music, an audiobook, podcast, or training, then do it. You can be a better parent and a better teacher by acknowledging your needs.
There are tons self-care ideas that will improve your health as well.
Apple is one of the best companies because their products all work together and are user-friendly. Despite their proven track record, it took me a while to open up to Airpods.
I love big headphones, and the idea of sticking these little things in my ear skeeved me out.
However, the upside to AirPods is I can discreetly hide them under my hair so my toddler doesn’t grab them. Giant headphones announce to my toddler — look at that new toy just for me!
I must have them NOW.
I can drown out bickering between the kids. Sometimes they can figure out how to solve their conflict. Sometimes.
Go ahead and have a quiet hour where you listen to an audiobook or brush up on a subject by listening to a TED talk or course.
While your kids listen to an audiobook, enjoy another cup of coffee in silence.
AirPods or your earbuds of choice can be an excellent tool for learning and relaxing.
Since I am a big Apple fan, the next one should not shock the Apple iWatch.
#4 How to Make Homeschool Organized with an Apple Watch
Just like the AirPods, I did not jump headfirst into owning an Apple Watch. I received one as a gift from my husband and decided to stretch the watch’s capabilities to the limit.
I use it to help me with homeschooling, parenting, and everything that comes with managing a household.
The Apple Watch connects to your phone and can do almost anything your phone can do. I find it handy for setting timers, stopwatches, listening to podcasts, getting email reminders, alarms, the weather, and more.
It is not fair to yourself to try to remember everything.
Leave the work to the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is convenient. I can see my reminders immediately instead of seeing them on my phone later.
In addition to timers and a stopwatch, there are other apps to help you through the day.
How to Use a Timer to Stay Organized During Homeschool
It helps me to set timers during homeschool. I start a timer after I give each assignment.
I might check in every so often with a child, but I want each subject to have a time limit. A time limit is a good idea if you’re going to avoid a child’s resentment of a less than favorite subject.
You can give your children a certain amount of time to do their work and provide them with a break in between.
If you’re anything like me, when your kids work independently, you are cleaning in another room or on Amazon trying to fill the time with to-dos. However, sometimes time gets away from you, and your toddler quietly draws on the wall.
Never lose track of time by setting a timer.
Why would you need so many timers? That’s easy.
For work assignments, diaper changes, boiling oatmeal, the list goes on.
Do you need more than one timer? You can use your watch for a timer and use a timer app on your phone for a second timer.
The Stopwatch: A Great Homeschool Tool
You can use the stopwatch to time spelling tests and keep track of your child’s reading speed. You can discreetly ask your child to read a paragraph if the idea of being tested freaks him or her out.
Testing? Nah. You are just checking the time.
Phone Apps Can Help You Organize Your Homeschool Day
You can use most of your favorite apps on your Apple watch.
I use Google Tasks with an additional email reminder that my daughter’s Outschool class is about to begin. On Monday, I forgot she had an online course despite it on a physical calendar.
The email reminder made a difference. Monthly there is a meeting with a supervising teacher from my daughter’s homeschool charter. I set various reminders to prepare for appointments.
Homeschooling is hard work! Make sure you are filling up on water. I love the WaterMinder app, and I have it on the cover of my watch.
Having a visual reminder of my progress is encouraging. I feel accomplished when I hit my goal at the end of the day, plus it’s good to stay hydrated.
#5 Homeschool Effectively with a Whiteboard
I bought a whiteboard from IKEA for the kids to draw, but I write down my most important to-do tasks each day. Keeping myself organized helps me feel accomplished and calmer throughout the day.
Let’s face it, there is always a lot to do, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Creating a daily goal that you can check off makes a difference.
How I Use a Whiteboard as a Homeschooling Tool
Sometimes the beginning of the school day feels like being thrown on a treadmill that is going 20 miles an hour. Being prepared by outlining tasks makes a difference.
My best advice is to use your whiteboard the night before to create a checklist for the kids and you.
I wake up each morning and can see the essential tasks for the day. If you have children who know how to read, they can learn to look at the checklist for what to do next.
If they can create sentences, they can make their checklists. I even draw pictures for each task for my kid who is not reading yet.
I use an easel for checklists during the day or a place to draw for the kids when the day winds down.
Capture what you need to do visually to stay organized in your homeschool.
#6 Evernote is a Homeschool Tool
I consider Evernote my online library. It is where I store ebooks, checklists, and all the goodies I collect here and there. When I need something, I use the search bar, and I have valuable information at my fingertips.
I am creating a course, and in Evernote, I had a checklist saved. A pdf may not be helpful now, but it might be beneficial in the future.
Evernote is a cloud-based tool that allows you to create stacks of notebooks, notebooks, and notes. You can capture anything by snapping a photo of it, saving PDFs, or creating typed notes.
You can access Evernote from anywhere.
Some people use it for brainstorming, taking notes in classes, working on projects, or a digital library.
How to Use Evernote with Homeschool for Free
I have a simple way to use Evernote for my homeschool. I use Evernote to create a notebook for each subject and save worksheets and tips on homeschooling.
If you have more than one child, having saved worksheets will save time year after year.
Evernote is an organizational solution by keeping worksheets in one place. Staying organized is one way to have an efficient and effective homeschool.
If you are interested in being paper-free, then Evernote may help.
#7 Grammarly as a Working Homeschool Mom Tool
Before motherhood, I was the second pair of eyes for resumes or essays for friends and family.
Let me tell you — “Mom brain” is real. My brain is firing on all cylinders to manage a household, homeschool, and personal life, so writing takes longer, and mistakes are trickier to catch.
After having a few kids, I needed a writing time-saver, and Grammarly is excellent. After using the free version for several years, I invested in a yearly plan.
Of course, I waited for their after Thanksgiving sale because why not get a great deal?
Grammarly is available anywhere you are — on your phone, tablet or laptop. The Grammarly app checks for spelling errors, grammar, punctuation and suggests corrections.
It goes beyond a typical spell and grammar check, but it doesn’t take the place of editing and proofreading.
I enjoy Grammarly’s weekly emails, letting me know how much I have written and how productive I am. It’s motivating.
If you create blog posts, proposals, emails, or use messaging apps, then consider Grammarly.
We all get 24 hours in a day, so I am all about it anytime I can shave off time.
The best tool for homeschooling success? A better relationship with your children.
A smoothly run homeschool needs emotional connection and tools to manage difficult situations.
If the kids or I am having a tough day, completing a math page will not be easy. Yelling and hurt feelings are a homeschooling roadblock.
I recommend the Peaceful Parenting Course from Dr. Laura Markham of Aha Parenting. It’s a comprehensive course with audios, assignments, and printables which helps you develop a better relationship with your child through gentle parenting.
Gentle parenting is less yelling and more empathy for your children. You work through your emotions as a parent, and as a result, you can work through challenging situations with your children.
The neat thing about her course is some printables give you ideas on how to navigate parenting. I printed out a list of how to respond to a child not doing what you ask and put it on my refrigerator.
It’s been helpful because it is hard to think of peaceful solutions when emotions hijack your brain. For example, you can turn a request into a game or give your children options.
It may take some time, but you will see a change with your entire family by yelling less. It will feel good to stay calm and think your way out of challenging moments.
#9 Self Care is the Most Important Homeschooling Tool
The day in the life of a homeschooling parent is non-stop from sunup to sundown! I wake up before the family to work and then fit in as much as possible during the day.
If my youngest is napping, then I might sit, but I’m usually on my feet. I know what I am about to say is essential, but you have to remember to eat and drink.
While you’re at it, relaxing is great too.
I installed the Waterminder app to remind me to drink water and to track how much water I had to drink. It helps that I am highly motivated by seeing my numbers rise throughout the day.
I enjoy hitting my measurable goals at the end of the day. So drinking 72 oz. of water each day works better than “enough” water which is vague.
Fueling your body will give you the energy to sustain your busy day and take care of your family.
If you burn out, it will be challenging to take care of your family. The Waterminder app is my digital self-care assistant.
#10 The Roomba: More Time Teaching, Less Time Cleaning
I am both amazed and disgusted by the amount of dust my off-brand Roomba picks up. I run “Noodles” (the kids named him) twice a day, and I think it’s worth the investment.
It doesn’t replace a good old-fashioned vacuum, but it comes close.
There are tons of choices. Select the type of vacuum for the pile of your carpet to avoid a time-wasting return. I needed something that cleans — that’s it.
The wi-fi and all the fancy stuff is not necessary.
I am in full support of getting help any way you can, and if you’re like me, it is usually with apps, delivery, and robot vacuums. My robot vac is a long-term investment in my sanity.
Long live Noodles the robot vac! Find ways to take tasks off of your plate to run your homeschool with more joy.
Create Your Best Tools for Homeschooling
I hope that my list sparked the inspiration for finding tools and gadgets to make your homeschool life easier!
- Stay organized
- Keep track of time
- Take chores off of your plate
- Get help
- Create goals to reach
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